Daintree Fresh will soon be picking and packing 15,000 trays of fresh produce weekly, ready to be exported to Japan with the help of a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant.
The melon-growing business near Lakeland in Far North Queensland was one of 16 businesses to receive a grant of up to $200,000 under Round 4 of the program.
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui says the prospect for Daintree Fresh to export their produce to Japanese markets opens an opportunity for local economic and employment growth.
“The demand for specialty melons in Japan means there is a prime opportunity to help boost the economic and employment growth in the Cook Shire Council,” Ms Lui said. “This project will allow Daintree Fresh to implement the required infrastructure to help them efficiently grow, harvest and package their produce ready for export.”
Director of Daintree Fresh, Shaun Jackson says Lakeland’s location and climate is perfect for growing the melons during the winter season. “We don’t get the severe frosts or low temperatures that a majority of Queensland has throughout winter,” Mr Jackson said. “Our stable and dry climate from April to November makes it the ideal weather for growing cucurbit varieties. Because of this, there is an opportunity for us to supply consistent quantities of produce from June through to December.”
The RED Grant will be used to help Daintree Fresh source and install essential packing infrastructure to effectively package and store their fresh produce.
“The packing equipment will package 400 trays per hour to meet our 15,000 trays per week quota,” he said. “A cooling facility will be installed to enhance the shelf life of our produce to ensure it reaches the end market while obtaining its quality.”
Mr Jackson says that Daintree Fresh will employ 40 people over the next 12 months to assist with the current operations and to cater the increased capacity the expansion of their business will bring.
“Exporting specialty melons to Japanese markets is an exciting opportunity to develop long term prospects, for the overseas export markets, whilst creating business and economic growth locally,” he said.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said Daintree Fresh was one of 16 businesses approved in the fourth round of the RED Grants program with total funding of just over $3 million. Overall, these 16 projects are expected to create more than 217 direct long-term jobs across regional Queensland.
“Overall, these 16 projects are expected to create more than 217 direct long-term good jobs across regional Queensland,” Mr Furner said. “The initial three rounds of the RED Grants program have seen funding of $10 million over three years to support more than 30 projects which have created 1,800 good jobs across regional Queensland. The Palaszczuk Government has continued its investment with a further $6.6 million to be delivered in two rounds over the next two years to generate even more good jobs, expand agricultural supply chains and provide significant economic benefit to rural areas.”
For more information:
RED Grant scheme